Wiltshire

David Hempleman-Adams sworn in as high sheriff

David Hempleman-Adams and Lady Gooch
Image caption The adventurer, who has taken over the role from Lady Gooch, said wearing tights for the ceremony was a "bit odd"

David Hempleman-Adams has been sworn in as the high sheriff for Wiltshire and Swindon.

The adventurer, who has reached the poles a record 20 times, has taken over the voluntary post from Lady Gooch.

High sheriffs are chosen annually by the Queen who "pricks" the name of the nominee from a list using a silver bodkin - a type of needle.

Mr Hempleman-Adams said he has given up climbing for a year to concentrate on his new role.

The explorer, who has climbed Everest by the north and the south routes, was sworn in at the civic offices in Swindon.

'Swapping woolly thermals'

His duties will include overseeing attendance at royal visits and giving support and encouragement to the emergency services, local charities and voluntary organisations.

"It's quite a contrast to go from woolly thermals to tights and I have to say this is the first time I've ever worn tights in my life and it does feel a bit odd," he said.

"But I have been privileged to see all the four corners of the world and I still haven't seen a lot of Wiltshire which I am looking forward to doing during my year."

The office of high sheriff is the oldest in the country after the Crown, dating back over 1,000 years.

The post is unpaid and anyone appointed must carry out his or her duties without recourse to any public funds.

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